Wednesday, 18 December 2013

:: Le Jardin du Pere Noel and a special treat ::

Last night Jack was treated to something special.

We visited le Jardin du Pere Noel in Anse Vata, Noumea. This is a house which for over 20 years has been transformed into a dedication to Christmas for the whole month of December. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

It's been a while...

I have been a bad girl. Neglecting my blog for almost 6 months - the shame!

Although it's not like I haven't had distractions. We had a quick visit to Melbourne with Jack for medical visits to organise and do.  Nellie to be enrolled in school. My French Life articles to research, photograph and write. Perpetual internet hassles, which is one of the biggest distractions from writing a blog, where a quick post becomes a whole day headache. I've started drumming with a group of great people. My own health challenges. Blah, blah, blah.
But now we find ourselves at the pointy end of the year. School will be finished soon and I have to prepare, mentally more than anything else, that my almost-3 year old baby will be joining the chaotic hordes at the local school.
We had a couple of hours orientation with her in the 'petite maternelle' class a couple of weeks ago, the non-French speaking kid in the room. My head knows she will cope, but I will worry every day until I pick her up at 11.30 each morning. And then, when she doesn't need the afternoon 'sieste', she will be full-time like her big brother.
She will sing, dance, draw, play dolls, be assertive, follow the pack, eat lunch, make friends. I do worry about the toilets. Despite the fact that she is pretty much daytime toilet-trained, her first attempt at using one of the toilets was a fair disaster.
In the bathroom, which resembles a miniature prison toilet block (no seats, toilets all in a row with no privacy walls, round fountain-like washbasin in the centre of the room) she had trouble sitting by herself on the little toilet. Cue mess. Need to work on that. We have a few months.
Jack, on the other hand, as the only wheelchair using child at the school, will be using the canteen for lunch next year. Again, this presents mixed feelings for me. Firstly because it means he is cast into the crazy, noisy, messy school lunch system, which for a kid who can be picky occasionally, will be interesting.
But it also means that he is reliant on his carer to make sure he can manage it - seating, eating, cutting up food, taking his cup from home as he can't use the school ones - plus the toileting. It's a fair job.
On the other hand, it means half the wheelchair-lifting for me. I can't pretend I'm not excited about that. That bugger is heavy.
Perhaps the biggest impact that Jack will have on the school in the next few months is that they will be spending the Christmas holidays building a very big ramp for Jack to actually access the canteen. The school is built on a hill and the school buildings split across 3 levels. Jack's classroom is on the middle level and his carer has to push him up a large ramp to access the classrooms and playgrounds on the upper level.

The canteen is on the lower level, currently only accessed by about 20 steep steps. I will be tracking  progress of the new canteen ramp with interest. Jack's time at the Pouembout school will be felt long after he leaves, hopefully helping lots of other people access the canteen as well.

So, into the Christmas crazies. A plus tard!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Friday, 3 May 2013

April, as it were.

April was surprisingly eventful. It began in Noumea, brought a distinct change in the weather, and also delivered us a schoolboy (read about it so far here and here).

Friday, 26 April 2013

A week in the life of Us.

A big week in our household this week. School has entered our lives. We are now one of the gazillions of families who juggle the school drop-offs and pickups, exchange pleasantries and sidelong glances with other parents waiting at the school gate and worry about school marks and nits.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Maintenant, je suis un étudiant

A milestone this morning as Jack, our 4 1/2 year old son, went to school this morning for the first time.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A slow week with food for the soul

Chargrilled steak with caponata via

Bonjour à tous!

This week has begun on a quiet note. I haven't been feeling 100% the past few days so I've been taking it quietly (hard to explain that to a two- and four-year-old). I've also channelled my pain into comfort food.

Friday, 5 April 2013

What March held for us.

Another month has flown past, bringing us to 8 months in New Caledonia. It was an eventful month, closing chapters and beginning new ones.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Friends and family :: a report and an update in pictures

Sesame St download time


My latest My French Life article is now published. Click here to read it and have a squiz at the rest of the intriguing articles while you're there!

Plus, a few family snaps to give you a taste of life here recently...

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

This was February

Somewhere between getting back from 5 weeks in Australia and now, February happened.
It seems to have gone very fast and yet we managed to pack a bit in, not that the photo evidence supports this claim.
We made some inroads - and have met a large roadblock - into getting Jack into the local school.
Our Baby Nellie turned 2 and celebrated in a harried-mummy style of a '2' candle on a chocolate eclair (they really do sell the best frozen desserts here). Before you get all huffy on me for being slack, I DID manage to make a fabulous princess crown for her, which, I tell you, will last a lot longer than any cake would have.
If my stitching holds, that is.
The big logistical event was the collaboration of friends and family to get Jack's first wheelchair over here. As soon as he gets into school we can give it some work. In the meantime we are pushing the walker (no pun intended) and most days harrass the locals in the supermarket. Several apologies for Jack's hoon noises, crashes with displays of tinned haricots and attempts at GBH (ankle-targeted) are hastily mumbled in bad French each time.
Rob made inroads into child labour dressed up as 'let's help Daddy wash the car'.
We had a daytrip up to Poingam, the northern-most tip of mainland NC. Population up there is very few, being about 5-6 hours from Noumea or 2 1/2 - 3 hours from Pouembout. The last parts of road are unsealed and herds of horses roam around, mostly in the middle of the road. The foal pictured was resistant to the idea of self-preservation.
It was also the month when Jack was given a 4-inch bruise on the arm by his devoted but brutal baby sister by a door. We witnessed all colours of the rainbow as it healed.
I hope your February was eventful and happy, too.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Monday, 14 January 2013

Latest My French Life article :: Roadside shopping in the French tropics

I have taken quite a siesta from my blog these holidays! 

But now, on the eve of our return to our Pacific paradise, I thought I should let you know that my mind during the past weeks has often turned to New Cal; to wit, my latest monthly My French Life offering:

Click here! which I shall regale you with tales of tropical shopping roadside-stylie.

I do hope you enjoy.